Church of North India
A union of six denominations inaugurated on 29 November 1970 at Nagpur. The six were: Anglicans (the Church of India), with an estimated membership of 280,000; the United Church of Northern India, 230,000; Baptists, 110,000; Methodists of the British and Australian Conferences, 20,000; Church of the Brethren, 18,000;
Efforts for union had begun in 1929; one of the bodies, the United Church of Northern India, was itself a union of Presbyterians and Congregationalists in 1924. A late development which greatly altered the complexion of the united church was the decision not to join by the Methodist Church in Southern Asia, numbering about 600,000. Other churches, such as the Lutherans, remained outside the union, and the churches of NE India (where the UCNI had half its membership) were yet to form a separate union. Although limited, the CNI union was nevertheless an important landmark in Indian church history and was generally regarded as a stage to still further union in making an All-India Church. In two respects the CNI union differed from that of the
(1) The CSI began with a “mixed” ministry, some ministers having been ordained by bishops and some not; and congregations could insist on having only an episcopally ordained minister celebrate
(2) The CNI permitted both infant baptism and believer's baptism (the latter having been practiced by Baptists, Disciples, and Church of the Brethren). Where there was no infant baptism, there was to be a service of infant dedication, and believer's baptism was to be followed by a service admitting to communicant membership, and including laying on of hands, which paralleled the Confirmation service for those baptized as infants. The mode of baptism could be immersion, affusion, or sprinkling.
See also India; and official publications Plan of Church Union in North India and Pakistan (4th ed., 1965) and Forward to Union: The